Samsung jumps on board the auto IT market

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Samsung jumps on board the auto IT market

Samsung Electronics has finally joined the automotive IT accessory market. The world’s largest smartphone manufacturer introduced Samsung Connect Auto on Sunday, ahead of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, one of the world’s most celebrated IT events.

According to the company, the Samsung Connect Auto device, which plugs directly into the on-board diagnostic port under the steering wheel, will help turn ordinary vehicles into internet-connected smart cars.

When connected, the device - which runs on Samsung’s own Tizen operating system - monitors and analyzes the vehicle, including driving habits, fuel economy and maintenance. It then alerts the driver of the vehicle’s condition as well as driving habits.

As well, the device allows drivers to easily locate their cars through the “Find My Car” app in real-time, and in the event of an accident the device can notify the driver’s previously stipulated contact. The company said the system is protected with its KNOX device security platform. Developers can also create their own app using Tizen and Samsung Development Kit (SDK).

For professional use, the system can record information for travel logs and expense reports and drivers will be able to lower their insurance payments through the usage-based insurance (UBI) feature. Already one of its partners on the system is the insurance company AXA. Other partners on the solution systems includes Cisco, Crawford & Company, IBM, Ericsson and Orange.

The system will be available in the U.S. in the second quarter with AT&T as it wireless carrier.

“We have been listening to our customers and pushing boundaries to create a connected car ecosystem that seamlessly integrates our products and partner services for a better driving experience,” said Rhee In-jong, Samsung Electronics’ executive vice president and head of R&D, software and services, mobile communication business. “Through collaborations with valuable partners and experts across many industries, we are carrying out our vision of bringing Internet of Things technology to people’s everyday lives.”

The plug-in smart device comes two months after the leading Korean IT company announced it would focus more on auto technology in hopes of securing future growth engines as its smartphone business, as well as other key businesses including computer chips, have been shrinking amid growing competition particularly from China. Samsung Electronics is expected to unveil its latest premium smartphone Galaxy S7 during the IT congress that being held until Thursday.

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]


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